Kyrgyzstan – the former “Switzerland of Asia”
The Central Asian country of Kyrgyzstan – often referred to as Kyrgyzstan or Kyrgyzstan – only gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. Many Kyrgyz lived as nomads well into the 20th century, which explains the rare Kyrgyz history of architecture and monuments. However, the Kyrgyz are known for the great Manas, a collection of legends that has survived through oral tradition for over a thousand years to the present day. The Kyrgyz landscape is characterized by mountain ranges, almost two thirds of the country are over 1,500 m. Large parts of the country are still undeveloped. In June 2010, Kyrgyz gangs attacked the Uzbek minority in the country. As a result of the pogroms, around 700 people died and around 60,000 to 80,000 members of the minority fled to the neighboring republic Uzbekistan.
|Name of the country||Republic of Kyrgyzstan (Kyrgyzstan)|
|Independence||since 31. August 1991|
|Form of government||presidential democracy|
|Geographical location||Central Asia|
|National anthem||Ak möngülüü aska|
|Population||about 5.5 million (Credit: Countryaah: Kyrgyzstan Population)|
|Ethnicities||70% Kyrgyz, 8.4% Russians, 15% Uzbeks. In addition, Ukrainians, Tatars, people of German origin (around 10,000), Tajiks and Azeris (Azerbaijanis) live in the country.|
|Religions||80% Sunni Muslims, 17% Russian Orthodox Christians and small minorities of other creeds|
|Languages||Kyrgyz and Russian|
|Capital||Bishkek (Biskek) with around 1 million residents|
|Highest mountain||Pik Pobedy (Dschengisch Tschokusu) with an altitude of 7,439 m|
|Longest river||Syr-Darja with a length of 2,200 km|
|Largest lake in area||Issyk-Kul Lake with an area of 6,200 km²|
|International license plate||KS|
|Currency||Som (= 100 Tyin)|
|Time difference to CET||+ 4 h to + 5 h|
|International phone code||00996|
|Mains voltage, frequency||220 volts and 50 hertz|
|Internet TLD (Top Level Domain)||.kg|
Kyrgyzstan until around the year 1000
Already around 1000 BC. the old trading town of Osh was founded in Fergana Valley in the south of today’s Kyrgyzstan. The Kyrgyz people were first established in 201 BC. mentioned in Chinese sources. From the middle of the 7th century, Muslim Arabs took control of a large part of Central Asia and spread Islam. The Kyrgyz Turkic people immigrated as nomads to the eastern Tian Shan at the end of the 8th century. The first written evidence of Kyrgyz tribes residing in the Tian Shan date from the 10th century.
Kyrgyzstan in the 18th and 19th centuries
According to Abbreviationfinder website, in the 19th century Russian troops fought against the Khan and in 1864 occupied the fortress and thus Bishkek. First northern Kyrgyzstan and 13 years later the south of the area was incorporated into the Russian Empire. In 1882 settlers of German origin (Mennonites) immigrated to the country for the first time. In 1916, during the Central Asian uprising, the Kyrgyz and other Muslim peoples fought against the increasing “Russification”, but the uprising was suppressed by the Tsar’s troops. In 1876 the Russian conquest of Kokand began, which marked the end of the Kanat and the definitive incorporation into the tsarist empire. Russian immigration to Kyrgyzstan followed.
Kyrgyzstan in the 20th century
In 1916 there was a Central Asian uprising against Russia with bloody repression measures and emigration of up to a third of the Kyrgyz population, mainly to China. After the tsarist rulers put down the uprisings during the October Revolution, the Soviet power created a new, gigantic empire. Kyrgyzstan first became part of the Turkestan ASSR (Autonomous Socialist Soviet Republic) in 1918, before it received the title “Kara-Kyrgyz ASSR” in 1924. A year later it was renamed “Kyrgyz Autonomous Region” (AG) and another year later it was renamed “Kyrgyz Autonomous Soviet Republic”. In 1926 the republic then lost the title of “Autonom”, as “Kyrgyz Socialist Soviet Republic” with the now in “Frunze” renamed capital Bishkek. The name came from Mikhail Frunze, General of the Red Army, politician and son of this city.
The strong cultural and political repression of the Soviet era began in 1920, and it had a lasting impact on further social development. Systematic immigration of Russians was organized by the government. On October 14, 1924, the Kara-Kyrgyz Autonomous Region was founded within the RSFSR. In the same year, the Kyrgyz received their own written language for the first time, until then there was nothing comparable. In 1926, it was decided to introduce Latin script instead of the previous Arabic characters for all Turkic languages of the SU. From 1937 these were then replaced by the Cyrillic letters. The economy, which was previously based almost exclusively on agriculture, has become highly industrialized. The progressive collectivization of agriculture under Stalin led to fierce resistance from the nomadic Kyrgyz also in the years after 1929, because in the course of these measures they were forced to settle down. Hundreds of thousands of Kyrgyz people are said to have been interned, driven to China or killed as part of the fighting. On December 5th, 1936 the Kyrgyz SSR was founded.
In 1990 there were clashes between Kyrgyz and Uzbeks in Osh. In December 1990, Kyrgyzstan was the last of the Soviet republics to submit a draft declaration of sovereignty to the republic’s parliament, and in 1991 Kyrgyzstan declared its independence from the Soviet Union. Frunze received the current name Bishkek. The former president of the Kyrgyz Academy of Sciences Askar Akayev was confirmed in office by direct election. He initiated democratic reforms and the transition to a market economy. In the same year Kyrgyzstan joined the CIS. In 1993 the parliament passed the new Kyrgyz constitution. In addition, Kyrgyzstan introduced its own national currency, the “SOM”.
In 1999, the president declared a state of emergency due to renewed fighting between government forces and Muslim rebels who had invaded from Tajikistan. Kyrgyzstan has been a member of the “Eurasian Economic Community” since 2000, alongside Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan. At the end of 2005, President Askar Akayev was forced to step into office through mass protests. His successor was Kurmanbek Bakiyev. However, this coup, often referred to as the “Tulip Revolution”, was not the beginning of democratization, but only ended the traditional rule of the north over the neglected south. With the help of clans and (semi) criminal supporters, the forces of the South had come to power.
At the beginning of April 2010 there were serious clashes between the opposition and the security forces of the government under President Kurmanbek Bakiev, which culminated in Bakiyev declaring a state of emergency and imposing a night curfew. As a result of the fighting with more than 100 dead, Bakiyev resigned and fled to Kazakhstan and the opposition Rosa Otunbajewa, the country’s former foreign minister, took over the interim government on April 7th. The head of the opposition party Ata Meken – Omurbek Tekebajew – is under discussion as the new president.
But already in June 2010 there was renewed unrest in Osh, a city in the south of Kyrgyzstan. Bakiyev’s supporters are held responsible for the acts of violence between the Kyrgyz and Uzbeks, which claimed around 170 lives (unofficially there are even 2000 dead) and more than 1000 injured. Several thousand people fled the region and some found shelter in refugee camps near the Uzbek border, but the Uzbek government closed the borders on June 15 because it could no longer control the flow of refugees. Uzbekistan also asked for international help. The military of Kyrgyzstan has not yet been able to end the acts of violence, even though the country has been declared under martial law.
On June 28, 2010, a little less than 80% of voters voted for a new constitution designed to democratize the country and curb the rights of the president. The turnout was around 69%.